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Are your athletes ‘in shape’?

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In many coaching situations, we look at an athlete’s perceived inability to finish a workout in the expected time as a matter of not being ‘in shape’.

The solution, for many coaches, is to add more reps, slow the athlete down, give more rest, etc. This is done with the underlying belief that more ‘conditioning’ will allow the athlete to ‘hit their times’ or ‘finish strong’.

And I will admit that after being conditioned by this belief for years, I will often find myself reverting to this mindset when I see my athletes breaking down in their workouts. I must, however, override this impulse the same way an athlete in a close race must override the belief that straining harder will get them to the finish line faster.

In fact, the answer is often that the athlete simply has not developed the pure speed required to take maximum advantage of the energy system requirements of that particular sport, race, interval, etc.

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Athlete A and Athlete B are both chasing a loose ball that is 25 yards downfield. Athlete A specifically develops her acceleration and does speed endurance work specific to the demands of her sport. Thus she can cover that distance in 4 seconds (as a round number) under a state of fatigue.

Athlete B’s training is based on running mileage and doing long repeats around the soccer field. She may have faster mark in the timed mile than Athlete A, but she’s weak, mechanically inefficient and slow.

Do you think she can compete with Athlete A’s 4.0?


Yours in speed,

Patrick Beith

P.S. – If you haven’t taken a few minutes to check out all of the different programs we’ve put together to help you learn how to safely develop the fastest, strongest athletes, maybe now is a good time:


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